After three years winning over Balmain peninsula residents and visitors alike with modern Turkish cuisine, the savvy Somer Sivrioglu is finally making the Turkish food he most wants to eat, and is most proud of. A set price of $43/head gets you four meze and a main apiece.
Friendly Turkish staff demonstrate a willingness to share something of themselves and their culture. Recommendations are bang on too - Lamb Kofte on Carrot Tarator vie for meze line honours with Pacanga Boregi, triangles of pastry filled with intense air-dried beef and cheese.
The extremely popular Lamb Testicles with Almond Garlic Tarator had sold out, so I tried a plate of less strongly flavoured Lamb Brains instead, followed by the only menu stalwart Kadayifli Karides, eye-catching prawns wrapped in shredded pastry.
Other meze options include Penyir, herbed cheese balls (nice in combination with other meze) and Hamsi Marine (Black Sea cured sardines).
For mains try Kuzu Kuzu, a daily duo of lamb that includes a light, meaty yoghurt soup;
...seven-hour, melt-in-the-mouth Kuzu Tandir (lamb shoulder); or Pilic Topkapi, a Thirlmere rolled chicken breast. The accompanying apricot and barley pilaf was a particular delight!
Cough up the coffers for pillowy Pide Bread ($2/head) with baharat and excellent oil, and a Ahirdagi Salata ($8) palate cleanser which looks beautiful and sings with tart pomegranate.
Drink the pleasant 2007 Magpie Estate Fakir Grenache ($44/bottle) with the Turkish name. Wind down with a stunning Torbreck Bothie ($10/glass) and a soothing Kazandibi ($12) burnt cinnamon and mastic pudding.
To see what's changed in the last few years, check out my earlier review of the downstairs restaurant HERE and of the upstairs Mezebar HERE.
79 Elliott Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9810 5466